Mother Catalogues Children and Animal Friendships in Russian Countryside

Many mothers will testify to the fact that throughout their busy days they have little time to sit back and enjoy their children or to appreciate the beauty that surrounds them in the form of simple, everyday moments. That is one of the reasons that Elena Shumilova, a mother in Russia, has taken over the internet with her amazing photography. Shumilova, a mother of two in the outskirts of Andreapol, purchased her first camera in 2012 and has been snapping breathtaking photos of her children ever since.


“Children and animals – it’s my life. I’m a mom with two sons and we spend a lot of time on the farm,” Shumilova said in an interview. When shooting I prefer to use natural light – both inside and outside. I love all sorts of light conditions – street lights, candle light, fog, smoke, rain and snow – everything that gives visual and emotional depth to the image.”


Shumilova explained that her education in architecture, as well as experience in painting and sketching, have defined her “feeling of photography and composition.”


“I’ve been shooting every day and processing the images at nights. By autumn I felt I found my own way of approaching photography,” she said.



View more of Elena’s photographs here.

New Year’s Eve Ideas for Couples

New-Years-Eve-Date-Ideas-0.5-300x300New Year’s Eve may be one of the most romantic holidays, but arranging an evening that meets expectations, sends sparks flying and meets the budget can be challenging. Many couples want to have a date night, but are not sure how to go about that. Here are a few wallet-friendly but truly romantic options:

1. Find a local show and give the NYC-style a try. Dress up, grab a few drinks, and then dance the night away to some great music. Choose a venue that is convenient, so that your evening isn’t ruined with a long commute home.

2. Stay home. Dress up, light candles, and have a romantic dinner in your own dining room. Set the table, dim the lights, play some music… Slow dance in the living room, make some cocktails, exchange massages, or watch a romantic movie together.

3. Take a walk down memory lane. Make a list of places from throughout your relationship, and spend the night visiting each one and reminiscing. Reserve seats at an old favorite restaurant, walk through the park, visit the place you first met… Close off a solid year together by remembering why you are together in the first place.

4. Rent a cabin. If you’re nature lovers, or want a break from city life, look online for some last-minute deals on some romantic cabin getaways. Some will even let you bring pets, which is a great way to save on pet-sitting expenses.

Phoenix Ancient Art Features Must-See Exhibition

If you’re into antiques, history and art and you live in New York or are visiting, the most recent Phoenix Ancient Art exhibition is a must-see. Entitled “Sacred Scents and Flames from the Ancient World,” the display will appear at the New York gallery from December 12th, 2013 until February 12th, 2014.

LAMP REPRESENTING A DOVE, Roman, early Imperial period (PRNewsFoto/Phoenix Ancient Art)

As president and co-owner of Phoenix Ancient Art, Ali Aboutaam explained, “The exhibition gives a fascinating opportunity to see an important selection of ancient lamps and the incense burners and to explore how the ancient civilizations of Pre-Classical and Classical world designed their lighting devices. From the very beginning various religions worshiped the eternal, divine flame, and even the most powerful kings had to pay a tribute to a flame. Incense which is closely linked to fire and flame quickly became the important element in the liturgical ceremonies in various religions. An Islamic bronze censer shaped as a feline, which is dated to the 11th century A.D., is a masterpiece of the bronze cast technique; its surface is an openwork in the shape of floral motifs, which allowed the perfumed smoke to escape and spread.”

The exhibition has approximately 80 items showing different shapes and materials including gold, silver, bronze, glass and more. They show an historic span from the second half of the 3rd millennium BC until the 14th century AD. The exhibit sheds light on the way that such lamps were used in ancient cultures including Mesopotamian, Phoenician, Greek, Etruscan, Roman, Judaic, Byzantine, Islamic, and Chinese.

As Ali Aboutaam continued,

“Beside sensational gold and silver incense burners, elaborate and also expensive bronze lamps, there is a great number of rather simple clay Roman lamps which were apparently affordable for many at that time, but what an amazing information a contemporary collector can get looking at their reliefs. The bucolic scenes inspired by Virgil’s verses; a libation onto a small altar accompanying by a music; the images of Capitoline deities, the gladiatorial fight – it is like the life of the great Rome is reviving on these small representations.”

Harry Potter Visits NY’s Penn Station

Yesterday, Improv Everywhere struck again with another Movies in Real Life clip, this time featuring a young Harry Potter searching far and wide for Platform 9 3/4 at New York’s Pennsylvania Station. Fully equipped with luggage, wizard gear, and a stuffed white owl, the young Harry Potter lookalike turned to friendly strangers and transit employees for help.

What do you think of Improv Everywhere’s latest stunt?

See the group’s official webpage for more information and a peek behind the scenes of Harry Potter in Real Life.

Link Between Physical and Mental Health: Depression and Aging

elderlyIt has long been claimed that there is a definite link between mental and physical well-being, that our mental state has a heavy impact on our physical welfare.  Now, a new study has possibly actually proven it, vis-à-vis the effect of depression on the aging process.  In a study of over 2,000 individuals documented in Molecular Psychiatry, it seemed that cells looked biologically order in those who were severely depressed, or even those who had dealt with deep depression in their past.  Such visible distinctions could not be attributed to other facts (like smoking, obesity, etc.)

Even though it has long been determined that severe depression can lead to an increase in various diseases (often due to the unhealthy lifestyle that often goes hand-in-hand with depression such as poor diet, alcohol/drug abuse etc.).  But until now it has not been proven that the cells actually look biologically older.

The way the study was conducted was through the measurement of telomeres (cell structures) which are the “caps” at the end of chromosomes that protect DNA during cell division.  What usually happens is that telomeres get a little shorter each time cells divide.  It is thought that their length is an index of a cell’s aging.  It was found that telomeres were shorter in those who had encountered more depression, indicating cellular aging in those with depression is accelerated by several years.

Still, if one is already on the road to aging due to depression, there are things that can be done.  Since people over 50 are more prone to cases of clinical depression. Time and again, studies have shown that depression can actually be prevented with regular physical activity.  The problem is, as people age, it is harder to get moving, thus they don’t, and this leads to potential depression.  It is indeed a potentially vicious cycle.  Still, start moving and keep pushing it.

In addition, other studies have shown that adopting a Mediterranean diet can prevent – or slow down – the aging brain.  Indeed, according to a study undertaken by Annals of Neurology, such a diet could highly benefit the central nervous system-related axes – and is inversely associated with depression.

So for those suffering from depression, realize the seriousness of the matter but then take actions to change it – it is probably affecting a lot more than you realize.


Mix-and-Match Summer Frozen Yogurt Pops

frozen-yogurt-popsStay cool AND healthy this summer with these four easy frozen yogurt pop ideas!

  • Layered– For a layered yogurt pop, pour a third of a cup of coffee flavored yogurt into a paper cup. Freeze for 30 minutes, then add a layer of vanilla. Repeat and add flavors until the cup is full. Don’t forget the Popsicle stick!
  • Swirled- In a large bowl, gently fold a chocolate-hazelnut spread like Nutella into vanilla yogurt. Scoop into paper cups, and freeze with a stick.
  • Topped- Experiment with different toppings like mini chocolate chips, pretzel pieces, crushed heath bars and peanuts
  • Combo- Try switching off between solid layers of vanilla yogurt and layers of swirls. Mix up the flavors as well, combining layers of hazelnut-coffee swirls, vanilla and strawberry swirls, and chocolate toppings, for example.

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